March Madness Leads to “Surreal Experience” for Mercy Health Saint Mary’s Colleague

Dequindre Wiggins, and his sister, Morasha Wiggins. Morasha plays for the University of North Carolina women’s basketball team, which advanced to the NCAA Tournament this year.

When Dequindre Wiggins knew his sister’s basketball team was advancing to the NCAA women’s basketball Sweet Sixteen, the only thing standing in his way to watch her play — was work.

“I messaged several co-workers in a group chat about getting the day off or leaving early to see my sister play,” said Wiggins. “My co-worker Nicole DeVries volunteered and came in three hours early so I could make the drive with my family to the game. I was so thankful.”

Wiggins’ sister, Morasha Wiggins, is a freshman at the University of North Carolina (UNC). The 19-year-old was All-State each year of high school, was a Michael Jordan All-American her senior year, and gained national exposure from several division one universities in every major conference. Ultimately, Morasha landed a full-ride scholarship at UNC after graduating from Kalamazoo Central High School.

“Several people would be surprised to know my sister has been able to grab a 10-foot rim since seventh grade,” said Wiggins. “In high school, she played AAU basketball for the Michigan Crossover. Through travel basketball she gained national exposure and was ranked 18th in the ESPN 100 for her grade. I’m very proud of her.”

Wiggins has been a Mercy Health Saint Mary’s colleague for a little over a year after starting in February 2021. As a clinical social worker in the Emergency Department, his daily responsibilities include crisis interventions, suicide assessments, substance abuse assessments, referring patients to services (outpatient and inpatient), and grief support.

Wiggins made the road trip to Greensboro, North Carolina with his parents, Roshonda and Harold Wiggins, Sr, to watch his sister’s 5th-seeded Tarheels take on number one seed South Carolina — a team that has reached the Final Four in four of the last eight years.

“Watching her in the sweet 16 was surreal,” said Wiggins. “The environment was super amped because it was played in Greensboro between the University of North Carolina – and the University of South Carolina. The game was really close, and the Tarheels almost pulled off the upset, but lost within the last few minutes of the game.”

“It’s not every day your sister gets a chance to play in the NCAA tournament. Family is important, and so was being present for a major event like this,” said DeVries, a clinical social worker with Mercy Health Saint Mary’s. “Dequindre has stepped in to help out when others have needed coverage, so I wanted to return the favor in a small way. Our social work team is like a family, so we pull together to make sure our colleagues can give their best and that our patients receive the best care as a result.”

South Carolina went on to win the NCAA women’s basketball championship, beating Connecticut 64-49.

Despite the loss, for Wiggins, seeing his little sister in the NCAA tournament was a prideful moment, especially as she has grown as a person — and an athlete.

“I have been able to beat my sister one-on-one our entire lives,” said Wiggins. “However, the last time we played — the first time since she’s been in college – she beat me easily.”

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